How to Get Your Kids Ready for Braces
Modern orthodontic treatment has never been easier, more effective or more comfortable, but despite this, it does still require commitment, especially as your children are likely to be wearing braces for quite some time to come. It’s hardly surprising that children and teenagers often feel a little apprehensive about receiving orthodontic treatment, as, after all, it is a brand-new experience. However, with a little preparation, you can help get your child get ready for orthodontic treatment and of course, Dr. Christina Pepper and our dental team here at Charlotte Advanced Orthodontics are always here to support you both and to offer advice. Listed below are some of the ways you can help prepare your child.
Schedule an Early Visit to our Orthodontist
Many parents are surprised to learn their child can visit an orthodontist while they are still quite young. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child visit a board-certified orthodontist by age 7 to see if early treatment may be useful. An early appointment will enable Dr. Pepper to carefully assess and diagnose any problems that may be developing. At this stage, your child might not need any treatment, but it can be useful to monitor the growth and development of their teeth and jaws until they are ready to start orthodontic treatment. During an early appointment, Dr. Pepper can decide if your child will benefit from orthodontic treatment now and will suggest the optimal time to begin starting orthodontic treatment. This will give you and your child more time to become accustomed to the idea of wearing braces, and it will also allow you both to explore all possible treatment options.
Learn About All Possible Treatments
As a board-certified orthodontist, Dr. Pepper is familiar with all the best, most up-to-date and most effective treatments. She will provide a treatment plan detailing possible options that will work well for your child. Dr. Pepper can discuss each potential solution in detail and will explain why she thinks this will be the most suitable choice. The final treatment approach might depend on your child’s lifestyle habits, for example, whether they play any particular musical instruments or sports that could be affected by braces. And while fixed (glued to the teeth) braces are often the most suitable and effective choice for treatment, sometimes older children with good compliance may be better served with removable braces, such as Invisalign. Children who are already very self-conscious or shy might be dreading the thought of wearing metal braces, in which case a more aesthetic option could be preferable, such as clear braces, lingual braces (glued to the tongue surface of the teeth) or, as mentioned above, the Invisalign system
Taking the Mystery Out of Wearing Braces
Initially, wearing braces may be surrounded by a certain amount of mystery so it’s worth sitting down with your child and explaining exactly what is involved with treatment and what they can expect. Encourage them to ask questions and if you are unable to answer them then you can always get in touch with us here at Charlotte Advanced Orthodontics. Most children want to know how their braces will be placed and if treatment will be uncomfortable. It could also be worth asking your child to make a list of their questions to bring to their appointment with our orthodontist. Getting your child involved in the process of wearing braces will encourage their acceptance of treatment.
Increasing Your Childs Motivation for Treatment
Another idea that can be helpful is to look at before and after pictures of children who have worn braces. This can help show a nervous or anxious child that treatment will be worthwhile and hopefully your child will feel excited about the prospect of having a straighter and more attractive smile. If your child is to have Invisalign treatment, they will be able to view visual images showing how their teeth will look once treatment is finished. This can be extremely motivating.
Discussing Your Child’s Responsibilities during Treatment
Orthodontic treatment does require a certain level of commitment to be successful and it’s important to discuss your child’s responsibilities during this whole process. This will help ensure that your financial investment in their dental health isn’t wasted. Explain why you feel orthodontic treatment will help them and why it will be necessary to avoid certain foods if wearing traditional metal braces. Although orthodontic treatment is fairly seamless, the prospect of wearing braces for even a few months can initially seem daunting to a child. Make sure they understand exactly how orthodontics could benefit their appearance and their dental health, potentially for life. Children also need to be aware of the need for maintaining excellent oral hygiene during treatment and after. Additionally, they will need to see our orthodontist at regular intervals to check how treatment is progressing and to make any adjustments to their braces. Talking to your child will help identify any concerns they may have about treatment, so you can address these before their braces are placed.
Make Sure You Have Dental Supplies and Easy to Eat Foods
Once a date has been set for braces to be placed. Make sure you have everything you will need. This should include dental wax, some floss threaders and any other tools required to look after their dental hygiene. You might also want to put together a small dental kit they can take to school so they can clean their teeth after eating lunch or a snack. At Charlotte Advanced Orthodontics we will provide your child much of those helpful cleaning tools listed above. Initially, after their braces are placed your child may experience some discomfort or increased sensitivity. Make sure you have soft, easy to eat foods that they can enjoy for the first few days after getting braces. Another option is to get them involved and to discuss recipes that sound appealing to eat while their braces settle down. Promising a tasty smoothie or milkshake will give your child something to look forward to that first night.
The Importance of Positive Reinforcement and Support
Offering positive reinforcement can be extremely helpful. You might want to suggest a rewards system in return for keeping up a good oral hygiene routine, for following our orthodontist’s instructions, and for attending appointments. Don’t forget to be supportive and encourage your child to talk about orthodontic treatment before they begin and during the process. The more they know about orthodontics and how it will help them, the more likely they will start their treatment feeling confident and motivated. Ultimately, the very best reward will be a beautifully straight and healthy smile.